Hi everyone! I’m participating in Armchair BEA since I can’t be at the regular BEA this year. 🙂 If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Armchair BEA is a virtual convention for people who can’t go to BEA, there are daily instagram and blogging prompts as well as a few Twitter chats. 🙂 Which brings me to today’s prompt:
It’s time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now’s your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who’s your favorite couple? What are the components of a well written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?
Okay, characters are definitely one of the most important aspects for a story, if not the most important aspect. I’m more drawn into a book if I can relate to the characters on a certain level, like I mentioned a couple days with Sky in I’ll Meet You There and Ollie/Moritz in Because You’ll Never Meet Me.
I’m instantly more likely to enjoy a book if the characters and I have common situational issues or personality traits, like with Hadley in The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight and Whitley in A Midsummer’s Nightmare, who were both cynical characters with family issues. I like this because in a way, it shows me represented in a story, I’m not always a happy person, I can be over-dramatic, I tend to get angry fast and I have a somewhat negative outlook on life (involving myself) and I like seeing that. I’m also sarcastic, have a great sense of humor (is that cocky?), am a good listener and a good friend (I think so?).
Those traits in characters will make me like them because they’re well rounded and i want my characters to be well-rounded. If they’re angry about something or in general, I want to know why. I don’t want an angry character who hates the world for no reason. That brings me to my next point though.
I love the unlovable characters. Generally. This mostly applies to fictional tv shows and I’ll actually delve into that possibly next week. But the characters that do things to make you hate them or think they’re awful? Odds are, while I DO hate them, I will still like them. An exception though is Joffrey from Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I hate his character, he had absolutely no redeeming quality, he was a kid on a power kick who got his pleasure from torturing other people who couldn’t do anything about it. I hated him.
In the same turn though, Cersei, while she’s definitely done some horrible things, I do like Cersei quite a bit. Maybe it’s her manipulative nature or the way she tries to fight for control or how she is pretty smart despite making dumb mistakes. I don’t know what it is, but I do like her.
For a fictional book example (that I’ve read), I love Liz Emerson from Falling Into Place. Falling Into Place is about a girl named Liz who has attempted suicide and we learn throughout the book why she did it. I liked how she made really big mistakes and did things a lot of people would hate. In the same way though, I could relate to her feelings, her sadness, her feeling that the world didn’t really need her. It’s because I could relate to her, despite her doing a lot of bad things, that I loved her as a character and loved Falling Into Place.
I remember last year in the fall, I was reading a book I was so excited about called Anatomy of A Misfit by Andrew Portes. It was about a girl who was a paradox of sorts, on the outside she was one of the most popular girls in her high school, on the inside though, she had dark thoughts and somewhat ill-conceived plans. I didn’t click with her at all. I liked her sarcasm, but I couldn’t get past her mean-spiritedness. It was a struggle to continue reading Anatomy of A Misfit and I ended up never finishing it or getting very far into it at all.
Now that I think about it though, it would be interesting to go back and visit it realizing what I’ve said about liking the unlikeable characters. I think that phrase people sometimes say “I love you, but I don’t (always) like you” is true, in a way, for me at least. I do love mean characters, not all mean characters, but I do love a good amount of them. I love them because of how evil they are and how they work. I don’t like them though because odds are, I love the main character or the sympathetic character more so. So I love them, but I don’t like them. That makes sense, right?
I’m going to put some spotlight on more characters that I do absolutely love.
Rory from Free To Fall
Bianca from The DUFF: The Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Alice from The Truth About Alice
Ollie and Moritz from Because You’ll Never Meet Me
Mira and Sebby from Fans of The Impossible Life
Tretch from Anything Could Happen
And I’ll stop there. 🙂 All of these characters I loved and I could relate to them in one way or another. I could relate to Rory because she was quiet, I related to Bianca with her feelings about being a DUFF and family issues, I related to Alice in her isolation from her classmates, I related to Olly and Moritz because they’re friends who can never meet, I related to Mira in her depression and Sebby in his feeling messed up and I related to Tretch in his unrequited love.
What I love about characters is that we can find ourselves in them, maybe just a little tiny piece, but I think in all of our favorite books, we can maybe find a piece of ourselves in them.
Now I want to know who your favorite characters are, what characters you hate, do you have similar feelings as me or do you disagree? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Did you enjoy them? Did you like the characters? Sound off in the comments!